Trending Health – Everyone knows that exercise is key for a healthy lifestyle.

Once we’re in our middle-age years though, it can be easy to think it’s too late to adopt an exercise routine that will make a difference in our health.

But according to a recent study, people who pick up exercising during middle age can reverse years of living the couch-potato life.

The study looked at a group of sedentary, but otherwise healthy, adults with an average age of 54.

One group was put on a two-year plan focused on vigorous exercise, while the other group did yoga and weight training.

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Researchers found that the group who did vigorous exercise showed more improvement in their ability to use oxygen and had less heart ‘stiffness’ than the group who did the yoga and weight training. 

Wellness expert Michael Roizen, M.D., said that it’s never too late to start an exercise plan. He recommends finding a friend to exercise with.

Cleveland Clinic wellness expert Michael Roizen, M.D., did not take part in the study, but said it showed that adding exercise that gets your blood pumping can help reverse aging effects on the heart that would otherwise occur if you did nothing at all.

“Can you recover, if you’ve been a couch potato, if you’ve been sitting all the time; can you in middle age get your heart health back? The answer is ‘yes’ – but you have to do intense exercise,” he said.

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Dr. Roizen said this study provides good motivation for those who might have thought that it was too late to make a difference in their overall health down the road. He said the key is to make a plan and stick with it.

“Find a friend and do treadmills, ellipticals, bicycles, stair-steppers – whatever you like  – and get intense for about four minutes at a time, three times a day, twice a week, and that can keep your heart function normal and your weight much lower,” he said. 

For those who haven’t exercised in a while, Dr. Roizen said it’s a good idea to check with a doctor before beginning any vigorous exercise program.

Complete results of the study can be found in Circulation.

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